795.00/5–2054: Telegram

The Ambassador in Korea ( Briggs ) to the Department of State

secret
priority

1219. Priority Geneva 108, repeated information priority Tokyo 726. Tokyo pass CINCUNC. From Dean. Reference Geneva 87, repeated Department Secto 256, Tokyo 72,1 Subdivision 3a. Under existing ROK constitution elections being held today to National Assembly are for 4-year term. President Rhee insists if we are going to have new north and south elections present ROK constitution must be amended before such elections to curtail term of currently successful candidates and then after elections constitution can of course be amended by its terms in order to permit Assemblymen from north and from south to choose appropriate form of government by constitutional process within framework ROK constitution. Since he was adamant about inclusion of words “before the above elections” at end of penultimate sentence in paragraph one, obtained his permission insert last sentence.

[Page 302]

Reference subdivision 3b we only agreed delete “supervise and” when President agreed insertion “in accordance UNGA resolution 7 October, 1950” which agreed upon change later yesterday deleted in letter from Prime Minister quoted Embtel 99, repeated Department 1208, Tokyo 716.2

No matter what we say President adamant there must not be a single Communist soldier in North Korea at time elections are held. When discussing our draft statement principles which provided for withdrawal only Chinese Communists, pointed out to him on numerous occasions his insistence such complete withdrawal would also require UN forces complete withdrawal before elections which was contrary to our wishes. His consistently repeated answer is that since UN forces were invited and Communists are aggressors and since we expect Communists to reject statement, why are we compelled to agreed phased withdrawal our forces and not just demand withdrawal Chinese Communist forces? Not only is there nothing we can say on this question which seems convince him but for some reason assuming ROK armies are built up he looks forward to withdrawal of UN forces, perhaps for reason that he will then be free to march north. It is becoming more and more difficult to carry on reasoned discussions with him on this and related issues.

Reference subdivision 4, have made arguments therein set forth many times. Reference Geneva 863 have made arguments outlined to subdivision 5 in carefully reasoned way several times with Rhee and went over whole matter yesterday pointing out extreme difficulty he would face even with build-up ROK army if he did not have continuous pipeline to US and that without it he probably would be defeated by North Koreans alone in several months. Have also repeatedly made arguments Geneva 86 subdivision 3 with same results you describe. In passing, this particular provision worries General Taylor on ground it may give Rhee veto power over withdrawal of our forces which has already been determined upon by JCS even without phased withdrawal Chinese Communists.

Fully realize utmost importance unanimous declaration at Geneva but for your information, in reviewing situation separately with Generals Taylor, Partridge and Anderson they each wonder whether advantage joint declaration at Geneva, if accepted by Communists, may not be unduly restricting our freedom military movements and whether would not be better retain such freedom and accept proposition that Korea cannot be united except by force of arms and do best we can with South Korea as presently constituted.

[Page 303]

Deem wise not to approach President until receive instructions as requested Embtel 99. We have feeling confirmed by Prime Minister’s letter President is holding out for definite commitment from us which we have no authority to make.

Briggs
  1. Dated May 19, p. 287.
  2. Dated May 19, p. 291.
  3. Dated May 18, p. 279.